Lightning Elimination Systems (LES) is a certified lightning protection system installation company operating in the Gulf Coast area since 1995. We have installed numerous lightning protection systems for various residences and industries in the area and each installation has been an educational challenge.
Some facilities installed lightning protection systems as a preventative measure, while others called us after suffering damage or downtime as a consequence of a lightning event. In both situations, customers thought of lightning protection systems as metal rods installed on top of a structure; they rarely knew what an integrated lightning protection system was or what to expect from it.
When a customer did have an existing system consisting of various types of air terminals, conductors and surge protection devices, rarely did we find any documentation from the contractors who installed them – why they designed or installed it that way; how it needed to be maintained; or how the system coordinated with the facility’s power distribution, data/communication and emergency response systems.
It became obvious to us that most lightning protection contractors were installing systems according to their own convenience, as the customer rarely knew what standard recommendations would be applicable to their facility.
As a concerned and diligent contractor, LES installs systems in accordance with industry standards, and we’ll discuss the various types of standards in a future blog post. Additional challenges arise when coordinating facilities lightning protection with fire protection systems, power protection systems, static charge grounding systems, LEMP/HEMP/EMI shielding, cathodic protection systems and overall emergency response systems.
There’s a famous quote by George Carlin: “Electricity is really just organized lightning.” Our responsibility as a lightning protection system installation contractor is really to understand how a lightning event could affect a particular facility and mitigate potential risks in a way that lightning currents will flow in an organized and predicted pattern. We treat each facility as a unique entity and develop a protection plan using all possible and applicable recommendations with the most suitable products.
We started this blog to share our own experiences as well as those of other engineers and facility managers regarding lightning protection. Our intention is to continuously improve our capabilities and make consumers more aware of the challenges involved in designing effective lightning protection.
Rob Morris
Senior Consultant
Lightning Elimination Systems